THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO – Celebrating Memorial Day Weekend 2019!

Memorial Day Weekend 2019 has finally arrived!  It’s the unofficial start of Chicago’s summer season as neighborhood celebrations take over the streets with music and food festivals popping up every weekend.  Come join us!!

Join thousands of people to honor our veterans, active duty military, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country at Chicago’s annual Memorial Day Parade.  The annual wreath laying ceremony begins at 11:00 a.m. on Daley Plaza (Dearborn & Washington Streets) in The Loop.  The parade steps off at noon and proceeds south on State Street from Lake to Van Buren Streets.  This year’s Grand Marshal is Major General Marion Garcia, Commanding General, 200th Military Police Command, United States Army Reserve.  It’s one of the largest Memorial Day parades in the nation and is not to be missed!!

A popular Memorial Day weekend fest returns to the Lakeview neighborhood for its 35th year: the Belmont-Sheffield Music Fest on Saturday and Sunday (11:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m.) on Sheffield Avenue from Belmont Avenue to Roscoe Street.  Top local tribute bands will perform on the main stage (near Roscoe) while a second stage (a/k/a “community stage”) located on Sheffield at Belmont will showcase an eclectic entertainment mix that includes DJ sets, karaoke, and other local acts and performances.  There’ll also be plenty of great eats, libations (beer and wine), a wide variety of vendors, and an eclectic mix of art, jewelry, and fashion too!  Expect plenty of nonstop fun at this fest!!

Join the Randolph Street Market for their Sweet Sixteenth season and kick off to summer this Saturday and Sunday (10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.) at Plumbers Hall (1341 W. Randolph St.) in the West Loop neighborhood.  This outdoor + indoor summer season opener and garden party will have a whole bundle of new vendors and long-time favorites, but will also have a main stage with live music, a food court, a market bar, and three floors of inside shopping!  It’s the market we’ve all been waiting for with eight acres of shopping, eating, drinking, and entertainment!!

One of the city’s top attractions is Navy Pier (600 E. Grand Ave.) in the Streeterville neighborhood, which will be kicking off a summer of pier fun this Saturday with Live on the Lake and the Aon Summer Fireworks.  Head over to the pier’s Miller Lite Beer Garden for free live music featuring local favorites, national touring acts, exciting new artists, and dancing that continues all summer long.  Then stick around for the Aon summer fireworks at 10:15 p.m. followed by another set of live music until 11:30 p.m.!  The fireworks are held biweekly (Wednesday & Saturday) throughout the summer and are perfectly synchronized to music over Lake Michigan for the ultimate summer experience!!

Now in its 18th year of car-free riding, Fifth Third’s Bike The Drive returns Sunday to Lake Shore Drive in The Loop.  It’s a classic Chicago experience with almost five hours of car-free riding where bicycles reign while enjoying breathtaking views of the city and Lake Michigan.  Registered participants with rider numbers can safely start their ride at one of 5 locations and can choose to ride as short or long as they’d like.  Afterwards, there’s a post-ride festival at Butler Field in Grant Park with live music, a pancake breakfast ($10), and sponsor contests!  It’s the most unique bike ride you’ll take all year!!

Celebrate Memorial Day Weekend Safely as We Remember, Honor, & Thank ALL Our Veterans for Protecting Our Country and Freedom!!

CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS: Bucktown and Wicker Park, Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Chicago Loop, Andersonville, Evanston

Bucktown and Wicker Park: Get down to the Dean Theatre for the Reddy Freddy Films Sci-fi Showcase! This Friday May 25, for just $7, the evening will include synthy beeps and boops from musical guests, space-themed short films, and the complete premiere of Dustin Puehler’s The Depression Trilogy. Doors open at 7 pm and the show starts at 7:30 pm. Find more information here.

Lakeview: The International Ocean Film Tour is on its way to Chicago for a one night only special! You’ll see the most amazing ocean adventures and environmental documentaries. You can see them at Landmark Century Centre Cinema on Wednesday June 12 at 7 pm. Tickets are just $18 and can be bought in advance at 970-275-1234 or online.

Lincoln Park: It’s finally festival season! It’s time for the Old Town Art Fair. On Saturday June 8 and Sunday June 9, there will be over 250 nationally acclaimed artists, a Garden Walk, live music, a food court, and a children’s corner. Art mediums include 2D and 3D media, drawings, paintings, photography, printmaking, ceramics, glass, fiber, jewelry, metal, stone, and wood. The festival is from 10 am to 7 pm on Saturday and 10 am to 6 pm on Sunday. Food vendors include Anthony’s Italian Ice, DaLobsta, Ranalli’s, and more. Find more information here

Chicago Loop: Don’t miss this fantastic one night only event! The Chicago Philharmonic joins with clowns, acrobats, strongmen, jugglers, and aerialists for “Cirque de la Symphonie”. This extraordinary spectacle for the ears and eyes is performed to classic movie music from Superman, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Gladiator, Chicago, and more. The event is Sunday May 26 at 7:30 pm. Purchase your tickets here.

Andersonville: Mark your calendars for a BYOB Sip and Paint event at Andersonville Galleria! On Friday May 31 from 6-8:30 pm, bring yourself and a friend for an evening of socializing, painting, and fun. You’ll be visually guided through each step of painting! Tickets are just $39.  Price includes all painting supplies, a take-home canvas, fun and interactive instructions, and light snacks. Find more information here.

Evanston: Believe it or not, biking used to be a radical activity for women! Frances Willard helped lead the way to equality on her bicycle Gladys. Join the Frances Willard House in Evanston in celebrating her spirit with a day centered on the historical importance and joy of riding bicycles! Willard House Bike Day is this Sunday May 26 from 1-4 pm. You’ll enjoy a new spin on Evanston’s history with activities for the whole family including crafts for kids, bicycle decorating, bike-themed tours of the house, and photos with Gladys, Willard’s beloved bicycle. This Bike Day event is $10 per person and $5 for students. Find more information here.


Restaurant Review – Julius Meinl

I love a new coffee shop! Especially one that has delicious food. This week took me to Julius Meinl, a quaint coffee shop in the heart of Southport Corridor. The cafe has a large outdoor patio, ample indoor seating, and a relaxed vibe. The space is open and has a very easy going atmosphere, perfect for a solo brunch on a Tuesday. I was seated right away, although there were a fair number of tables occupied by families and people working from laptops. The menu is stocked with authentic Austrian cuisine, coffees, and pastries. I knew I had to start with a coffee, so I ordered a mocha while I perused the menu. They have a good number of both breakfast and lunch options. This is always the hardest choice for me! I finally decided on breakfast- everything just sounded too good! I chose the Baked Eggs. There were six different types to choose from. I decided on the eggs with truffled potatoes, wilted kale, bechamel, and parmesan. Each entree comes with a choice of toasted multigrain, sourdough, brioche, or pumpernickel bread and house jam. I chose the brioche! This was fantastic. It was the perfect portion, which can be hard to find when dining by yourself. The truffled potatoes were so tasty and the brioche toast was to die for. I don’t know what type of house jam I had, but I wanted to take a bath in it. It was marvelous. I knew I had to try a pastry, so I chose the Key Lime Torte: key lime mousse, creme brûlée custard, and key lime curd, all on a graham cracker crust. This was to die for. I absolutely love key lime and this did not disappoint. The graham cracker crust was buttery and crisp and the mousse was light and fluffy. I could have eaten three of these! I can’t wait to come back and try more things here. 

Julius Meinl has two locations in Chicago, one at 3601 N Southport and one in Ravenswood at 4115 N Ravenswood. The Southport location is open from 7 am to 8 pm daily. The Ravenswood location is open 7 am to 5 pm Mondays through Fridays and from 8 am to 2 pm Saturdays and Sundays. Find more information here.


What Are the Different Liens That Can Be Found on Title?

There are plenty of terms to agree to when you sign a real estate contract to purchase a home. But one thing you likely would never agree to take over are liens on title. Unfortunately, liens can derail real estate deals and cause headaches for both buyers and sellers.

That’s precisely why it’s important for buyers to have a title search conducted on a property to have the home’s title looked into before the deal is sealed. The ideal outcome of a title search is a title that’s free and clear of any liens or legal issues with ownership. If not, that could be where the deal ends.

There are several types of liens that could throw a home sale off its tracks that all buyers should be aware of.

What is a Lien?

A lien is basically a claim that’s placed on title until a debt is paid off. It’s a flaw on title that must be rectified before a sale can be carried out, and until then, the lien will remain. 

Sellers with liens on title will have to take steps to pay off the debt or deal with whatever situation caused the lien before they’re able to sell. It’s common for homeowners to begin the selling process without dealing with liens. 

Whether they never bothered to deal with the liens or were not aware that they existed, not dealing with a lien appropriately can bring a real estate deal to a screeching halt. 

So, what types of liens can you find on title during a home sale?

Contractor Lien

Many homeowners take on home improvement projects to repair or update their homes, which is a good idea considering how much extra value it can add to the property. But contractors expect to be paid for the work done, and if the homeowner doesn’t pay up, the contractor involved can place a lien on the title until the full debt is repaid. 

Whether the homeowner withholds payment on purpose for a job they’re not satisfied with or simply didn’t have enough money to pay the entire the bill, the disgruntled contractor can slap a lien on title until they get the money owed. 

Property Lien

Lenders who hand out mortgages for homes have liens on properties they finance. Technically, until the mortgage is paid off in full, the homeowner doesn’t really own the home. Instead, the lender does until the homeowner completely pays off the mortgage. Until then, a property lien will be placed on title. 

This type of lien doesn’t necessarily stop a seller from selling their home. Instead, when the home is sold, the first party paid with the proceeds of the sale is the lender. Whatever money is left over can then be kept by the seller, minus all costs associated with selling real estate.

Once the home is sold and the lender is paid accordingly, the mortgage should be discharged. Unfortunately, there may be some rare cases where the mortgage is not properly discharged, which can cause problems when it comes time to sell. Regardless, this lien must be cleared up for a sale to take place. 

HOA Lien

If the property in question is governed by an HOA, the association can place a lien on one of its properties if the homeowner is behind on HOA fees. Living in an HOA typically requires unit owners to pay monthly dues to cover the cost of maintenance and repairs of common elements. 

But if a homeowner fails to make timely payments and becomes delinquent, the HOA can place a lien on the unit, which can throw a wrench in any potential sale.

Tax Lien

The IRS has very strict rules about how and when taxes are to be paid. There are all sorts of different taxes that Americans are required to pay, including income taxes, school taxes, sales taxes, and property taxes, to name a few. 

If a homeowner has failed to pay any one of these taxes, the IRS has the power to place a lien on title. Just like any other type of lien, a tax lien puts a homeowner in the position to pay the tax amount owed – plus interest – before selling the property.

Judgment Lien

A creditor may go to court to have a legal judgment lien placed on title of a home if a consumer has not fulfilled their duty to repay all their debt. This type of lien is a court ruling that allows a creditor to take possession of a debtor’s home if any associated contractual responsibilities aren’t carried out. 

Basically, a judgment lien is created when a party wins a lawsuit against a homeowner and records the judgment against the home. There could be any number of reasons for legal action to take place. Regardless, the end result may be a judgment lien, which must be dealt with before the home can be sold. 

The Bottom Line

Liens are a nuisance, both for buyers and sellers. But if a lien is found on title of a home, that doesn’t necessarily mean that a transaction can’t take place, as long as the lien is dealt with accordingly and taken off title. Until then, the deal will likely be stalled.

Kathy’s Home & Garden Tips – Picking Perennials for Your Landscape

I’ve noticed many garden centers have perennials on sale now. Perennials are great for bringing color and interest to your landscape with minimal upkeep. Follow the planting instructions and you’ll be rewarded with many years of beautiful flowers and foliage.

For those shady areas, Hostas are the greatest! Plant under trees and along fences and gangways; they’ll provide beautiful foliage and produce spiky flowers in mid-summer. They come back year after year and come in colors from deepest green to variegated cream. They will tolerate low water times but will need to be watered if they are in a very sunny spot. Some of mine get a good bit of morning sun and I need to water them in dry times. Another shady flowering perennial is the bleeding heart. Its plants reach about 2 feet and have the most precious dark pink heart-shaped flowers. Clip faded flowers to encourage more growth.

For full sun, it’s hard to beat Coneflowers. They come in a variety of colors and are very attractive to bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. In fact, the three sunny flowers we are talking about here all attract pollinators. This is very beneficial for our gardens and everyone else in the neighborhood. Catmint “Walkers Low” is long blooming with spiky purple blue flowers. After the first spring bloom, cut back by half to ensure plenty of blooms from summer to mid fall. Coreopsis has masses of pale, yellow flowers and is drought tolerant. The blooming season will be long with regular dead heading. 

For fall color, nothing beats the old-fashioned Black-Eyed Susan. Like the name intimates, the flower has a raised dark brown center surrounded by golden petals. They will bloom from late summer to mid fall and give you copious blooms with deadheading. Plant together in a big mass for best effect.

I hope this encourages you to try some perennials. There are many varieties in many sizes and sun needs and you’re sure to find one that suits you and your landscape.  


Turning An Ordinary Bedroom Into A Luxurious Bedroom

For most of us, our bedroom is little more than a place to sleep and relax. However, just because it’s always been that way doesn’t mean that we have to settle for drab and dreary.

One trend that’s gaining steam these days is converting your current bedroom into a luxury suite (or something comparable). If you want to live like you’re renting a room at the Ritz, then you want to follow these tips.

Compartmentalize Your Activities

Making your bedroom more functional is going to make it more luxurious. Add a gorgeous desk for working and a TV area for entertainment, and you’ll be living it up in no time.

Make it Chic

Choose a color palette that is both luxurious and classy. Silver and gold can seem tacky, so choose muted shades that compliment each other. Also, a brilliant and commanding headboard can instantly upgrade the look of your room without any other changes.

Light it Properly

Finally, make sure that you have the right light to show off your designs. If it’s too washed out or yellow, then it will look drab and run down. Switch to brilliant LEDs and see the difference.

Choose Your Accents Wisely

We already mentioned a headboard, but some elegant drapes can also make your room feel more royal. Being strategic with your furniture accessories is going to both keep you under budget and avoid doing too much with the space.

Are you ready to lux your bedroom? You’ll be impressed by the results, and the feeling of decadence will make you more confident in your surroundings.


Enough already!  It’s time to move on to summer with its myriad of outdoor festivities and warmer temps.  And this weekend promises to do just that- at least with the festivities!  Who knows what mother nature will do?

Helping us kick off our summer festival season, Mayfest returns to 3100 N. Ashland Avenue in the Lakeview neighborhood on Saturday and Sunday (12:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.) celebrating it’s 24th year.  Once again the main stage is set up under a Big-Top tent featuring some of the best music, entertainment, and cuisine in all of Chicago!  There’s also an amazing beer garden offering tasty ice cold beer selections and vodka lemonade.  This event promises to give you a weekend of endless fun!!

Treat your taste buds to an adventure at The Munch Around Lincoln Park Scavenger Hunt this Saturday (12:00 p.m.) at 2045 N. Lincoln Park West.  Sample a variety of gourmet delights such as cow tippin’ ice cream, surprising pretzel sandwiches, seductive cupcakes, and more as you explore this eclectic and eccentric North Side neighborhood!  A few highlights of the hunt include Dorothy and friends in Oz Park, micro mansions, misplaced Parisians, Founding Fathers loitering outside a pub, Dillinger’s death spot, a creepy sunbather, and more!!

The 5th annual Lincoln Park Wine Festival once again transforms Jonquil Park (1001 W. Wrightwood Ave.) into an open-air market featuring wine and food pavilions this Saturday (two sessions: 12:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m./6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.) and Sunday (12:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.).  This festival features ticketed wine tastings with scores of varietals being showcased, a mellow live music lineup, food-wine pairings, artisans, and the products/services of wine-related vendors!  Also you’ll hear the expertise of brand ambassadors and sommeliers!!

Please welcome the new kid on the block!  Join in Chicago’s first Italian Beef 5K and Kids Dash at Montrose Harbor (600 W. Montrose Ave.) in the Lincoln Park neighborhood on Saturday (9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.).  All 5K participants will receive a dri-fit shirt, a beef-shaped 5K finisher medal, and a juicy Italian beef sandwich (choice of Buona or Al’s) at the finish line.  All kids dash participants will receive a race bib, a beef-shaped 5K finisher medal, and an Italian beef sandwich at the finish line as well!  Awards ceremony will take place at 10:30 a.m.  It’s definitely a race you can sink your teeth into!!

Since the Cubs are away this weekend, the 11th annual Cover Your Bases 2019: The TBOX Baseball Bar Crawl  is this Saturday (11:00 a.m.-7:30 p.m.) starting at Murphy’s Bleachers (3655 N. Sheffield Ave.) in the Wrigleyville neighborhood.  The crawl covers 10-15 other Wrigleyville bars where participants will collect different baseball stickers (1st Base, 2nd Base, 3rd Base, Center Field) and a bunch of other baseball themed stickers to Cover the Bases of their souvenir t-shirt and win prizes!  Drink specials, food, a scavenger hunt, and a full day of fun will be featured, and participants are encouraged to wear their favorite team’s gear!!  This is the last Cover Your Bases crawl as it is being retired to move on to new things in 2020 so don’t miss your last chance!!!

Come celebrate life, friends, family, and music at the Night Nation Run Chicago on Saturday (5:30 p.m.-10:00 p.m.) at Soldier Field (1410 S. Museum Campus Dr.) in the South Loop.  It’s the world’s 1st Running Music Festival, an ultimate blend of a music festival and a fun run!  Participants will experience a music filled course with live DJs, light shows, bubble zones, and neon & black lights.  Registration includes a race packet, a glow necklace, free giveaways, and admission to the official after party featuring top headliner DJs!  And this event’s official charity is Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C)!!

Who’s Moving to Summer with Me?

CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS: Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Bucktown and Wicker Park, River North, Edgewater, Oak Park

Lakeview: Mark your calendars now for Namaste Rose Monthly Yoga at wineHouse! The first Saturday of every month, there will be an all-levels yoga class at this boutique wine shop. This all-levels vinyasa-style yoga class is designed to energize, detox and restore; it will both support and challenge beginners and experts alike. Class will end with a few minutes of feel-good adjustments using aromatherapy oils in savasana, leaving your mind and body feeling refreshed and ready to enjoy the day ahead. After class, there will be a wine tasting! The first event is on Saturday July 20 at 10 am. Tickets range from $20-35 and can be purchased here.

Lincoln Park: It’s time again for Lincoln Park Night Out! This month is Remy Bummpo Theatre Company at Theater Wit and you can see their production of Bloomsday. The show is written by Steven Dietz and is a lyrical love story, set against the backdrop of Dublin and James Joyce’s groundbreaking novel Ulysses. It will transport you into a compassionate world of history, humor, and heartache. Use the code DUBLIN to to receive $10 off tickets for Thursday, May 23 at 7:30 pm. Reserve your tickets here.

Bucktown and Wicker Park: Do you love chicken wings? This is for you!If you dine at Kizuki anytime during Memorial Day weekend, you can enjoy an all-you-can-eat chicken wing special for two, paired with a pitcher of Sapporo beer. The special is just $29.99 and each extra guest is $10. The special is available during happy hour Friday May 24 through Sunday May 26 (3-5 pm) and from 9 pm to close. It’s also available on Monday May 27 from 5 to 7 pm. Check it out here.

River North: Meet People Chicago presents the River North Rooftop Bar Crawl! On Saturday, June 1 beginning at 3 pm, participate in Chicago’s only rooftop bar crawl. You’ll visit four unique and beautiful rooftop lounges, get amazing drink specials, and take in fantastic views of Chicago. The participating bars are Cerise, Fremont, Joy District, and Apogee. Regular tickets are $15 and late purchased tickets are $20. Ticket prices will go up as demand goes up. Find more information here.

Edgewater: It’s finally Farmers Market season! Edgewater Farmers Market opens on June 15 and will run every Saturday from 8 am to 1 pm until October 12. You’ll find fresh local produce, baked goods, cheese, coffee, and other specialties. The market is located at Thorndale and Broadway. 2019 vendors include Edge of Sweetness, Angela’s Raw Pressed Juice, Scheeringa Farm & Produce, Stamper Cheese Company, Tamales Express, and more. Find more information here.

Oak Park: Mark your calendars for the Oak Park River Forest Garden Walk! On June 23, the Garden Club of Oak Park and River Forest and the Friends of the Oak Park Conservatory are hosting their 26th Annual Garden Walk from 10 am to 4 pm. This is an exciting, self-guided tour of eight unique gardens. Transportation is necessary between gardens; bikes are a great option. “Plein air” artists will be demonstrating their creativity in some of the gardens. Garden Guides will be available for your use; they include a map and a description of each garden. Master gardeners will also be available to answer your gardening questions. You can purchase tickets here for $15 each. Find more information about the walk here.


Restaurant Review – Gideon Welles

Gastropubs are all the rage right now and I am absolutely on board. I love the relaxed atmosphere of a pub, with a slightly upscale menu, great craft beer, and delicious cocktails. This week took me to Gideon Welles, located at 4500 Lincoln Avenue, in the heart of the Lincoln Square neighborhood. We came in on a Thursday night around 6 pm and there were only a few customers. They have a large bar, a gorgeous patio, and a variety of large and small tables. We decided to sit at the bar; I love getting to chat with bartenders. The menu has a number of selections, with starters and shareables, salads, burgers, sandwiches, and more. The salads immediately caught my eye- everything sounded so delicious! I chose the Mediterranean: chicken, romaine hearts, french feta, mediterranean olives, chick peas, grape tomatoes, cucumber, crispy pita, and an oregano vinaigrette. This was delicious! It was packed with flavor and all of the ingredients were fresh. I loved the oregano vinaigrette, it was light and the salad wasn’t over-dressed. The feta and olives added richness and depth. I also love chickpeas in a salad- they’re like little pops of joy! My boyfriend chose the Glastonbury Burger: a house ribeye and brisket blend burger, cheddar cheese, braised pulled pork, signature bourbon bbq sauce, and a giant onion ring. This was a truly gigantic burger! If we had realized how big it was going to be, I think we would have shared it. This was gluttony at its finest. The burger blend was super rich and the pulled pork was fantastic. The barbecue sauce was great- a little smoky, a little sweet, and a little spicy. Also, who doesn’t love an onion ring? I can’t wait to come back and try more menu items here! 

Gideon Welles is open Mondays through Wednesdays from 2 pm to 1 am, Thursdays from 2 am to 2 pm, Fridays from 12 pm to 2 am, Saturdays from 10:30 am to 3 am, and Sundays from 10:30 to 1 am. They have Happy Hour from 4-6 pm Mondays through Fridays with $4 select drafts, $4 well drinks, and $6 appetizers. They are also available for online ordering and delivery through Grubhub. Find more information on their website.


Which Down Payment Strategy Is Right For You?

You’ve most likely heard the rule: Save for a 20-percent down payment before you buy a home. The logic behind saving 20 percent is solid, as it shows that you have the financial discipline and stability to save for a long-term goal. It also helps you get favorable rates from lenders.

But there can actually be financial benefits to putting down a small down payment—as low as three percent—rather than parting with so much cash up front, even if you have the money available.


The downsides of a small down payment are pretty well known. You’ll have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance for years, and the lower your down payment, the more you’ll pay. You’ll also be offered a lesser loan amount than borrowers who have a 20-percent down payment, which will eliminate some homes from your search.


The national average for home appreciation is about five percent. The appreciation is independent from your home payment, so whether you put down 20 percent or three percent, the increase in equity is the same. If you’re looking at your home as an investment, putting down a smaller amount can lead to a higher return on investment, while also leaving more of your savings free for home repairs, upgrades, or other investment opportunities.


Of course, your home payment options aren’t binary. Most borrowers can find some common ground between the security of a traditional 20 percent and an investment-focused, small down payment. Your trusted real estate professional can provide some answers as you explore your financing options.